Earlier this week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that its ToxCast screening program has screened 1000 chemicals, helping determine the way in which exposure to chemicals effect human health. The EPA plans to use the cost-effective tests to screen thousands of chemicals.
The first phase of testing included approximately 300 chemicals, using over 500 automated tests or assays. The assays used human and animal cells and proteins to screen chemicals. The results were compared to animal studies from EPA’s databases, helping to determine which ToxCast assays can predict a chemical’s toxicity and disease-causing potential.
The second phase of testing currently includes 700 chemicals, consisting of consumer and industrial products, food additives, and drugs that failed to make it to market. The drugs and human clinical trial data were donated by pharmaceutical companies, and enable the EPA to compare the ToxCast screening results with actual human clinical data.
ToxCast “allows us to start predicting potential toxicity to human health and the environment instead of just describing the toxic effects that occur after chemical exposure,” said Dr. Paul Anastas (pictured), assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.
ToxCast contributes to Tox 21 — a federal agency collaboration consisting of EPA, US Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health — which plans to screen 10,000 chemicals by the end of next year. ToxRefDB is the database where information and testing results on chemicals is stored.
For more on chemical legislation at the state level, see http://circuitsassembly.com/blog/?p=1416.